A few new amputee friends have recently contacted me seeking possible remedies for phantom pain. There is a misconception that phantom pain refers to actually feeling a limb that is no longer there. While I have experienced these kinds of phantom sensations, they have never been painful. These sensations have been limited to feeling the bottom of my missing foot itch, or a toe twisting.
I have experienced a different kind of phantom pain, especially initially after my amputation, in the form of stinging. My leg often felt like it was being stung by thousands of wasps. There was little that I could do to stop the stinging, and I became a prisoner of the pain. I felt helpless, and I was miserable.
I tried all of the prescribed approaches, including neurontin and pain medications. The neurontin dulled the stinging, but it left me sluggish and depressed. At the time I didn't know that use of neurontin has a strong correlation to depression. This would have been good information to know!
I tried compression with moderate success. Massaging the limb helped, but, unfortunately, the pain persisted when the massaging stopped. I was becoming desperate to stop the stinging and I began to regret my decision to amputate.
I took to the internet and spoke with other amputees. I decided to become aggressive in my treatment. I am hesitant to admit the extent that I have gone to in order to alleviate this relentless pain, but my approach was 100% successful.
I discovered numerous articles touting the success of medicinal marijuana. Simply put, Cannabis dulls nerve endings. I researched the effects of this drug and learned this herb is less toxic than the cocktail of percocet, methodone and neurontin which I was prescribed. I called a trusted friend who immediately helped.
I was terrified when I had the water pipe in front of me, packed with what I knew to be an illegal drug. I also knew that the stinging pain was taking over my life, and the traditional medical approaches were not yielding relief. I took a hit.
Literally, within seconds, I could feel the nerve endings, which had been so angry a moment ago, begin to quiet. One minute after a little puff and my phantom stinging pain was completely gone. For the first time since my amputation, I was without pain!
There is a misconception that one has to become "high" in order for marijuana to work. This, I learned, is not true. I didn't lose contact with reality or become silly. I simply became Peggy without pain. I stopped the pain medications and the neurontin. When the phantom pain become severe, I would take a hit. For me, it was the miracle I had been seeking.
Thankfully phantom pain subsides with time. The nerve endings slowly become less angry, and the electrical impulses which cause the stinging cease. I am nearly seven years post amputation, and phantom pain is no longer an issue in my life.
I find it hard to understand how addictive pain medications are more socially acceptable. I suppose I am still defensive about my use of this drug. I don't want to be perceived as a "pot head" although, I assure you, my friends would laugh at this reference!
While I am not urging any of my readers to follow suit, I did want to let you know what worked for me. I don't have marijuana in the house because I no longer have pain that needs treatment. I am thankful that I was able to call a trusted friend who was willing to help me treat my pain. I resent that the solution to my eliminating the phantom pain completely is considered a criminal act.